It’s been a full week of visiting students. Most of our students live in what’s known as the Permanent Housing area here in Tondo, Manila. If you’re not familiar with the community we’re working in, these are former residents of the Smokey Mountain garbage dump. Years ago there was a 2 phase relocation which started in “Temporary Housing” and eventually into the permanent housing.
After the people were relocated into the Permanent housing it wasn’t long before the “temporary housing” filled up with squatters and families looking for shelter. We have some students who live in that community and I went to visit them. This place has really turned into a notorious place. Usually I’m pretty comfortable going around but I have to say I was looking over my shoulder there.
I’m so thankful for our sponsors who are making a way for these children to receive their much needed education. Such a small investment on our end is a life changing one for them.
Today was Saskia day for me. Saskia is one of our college students. She is finishing her 3rd year. I hadn’t seen her since I arrived and it seemed she has been missing in action for a while. So today it was my mission to go visit with her and find out how she was. When I arrived at her house she gave me the usual big hug and it was so great to see her. But, as it turned out there was a lot going on. Back in January her father abandoned the family. He took off in the night and has not returned. As you can imagine anytime the main bread winner is gone it has a devastating effect on the family….even more here.
Saskia, being the oldest child has taken it upon herself to try to make any money she can to help provide for the family, plus continue her schooling. I had to scold her a bit for not letting us know she had those needs (Filipinos are often “shy” to share what’s going on). She often times would only have enough money to get so far and would have to walk long distance to get to school. She joked, “I need the exercise”. I was able to reassure her that we would help her. This is why it’s so important to be here and have the contact with these families so we can do all we can to help them. Saskia has one more year and she’ll graduate and I want to celebrate that with her.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my update. I’ll post again soon!